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Historian David Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, and winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize in History, is the 2019 Adams Lecturer. In his remarkable biography, Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historians have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. Blight tells the story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Not only an astonishing man of words, Douglass was a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.
David W. Blight is the Sterling Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is is a leading expert on the life and writings of Frederick Douglass and on the Civil War in historical memory and the author or editor of a dozen books, including American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; and annotated editions of Douglass’s first two autobiographies. He has worked on Douglass much of his professional life, and been awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others. Blight has appeared in several PBS films about African American history and works extensively with museums and other public history projects.